(Mirror Daily, United States) Dogs, dolphins, and chimps are classical examples of intelligent animals. As the natural world is full of surprises, researchers were highly impressed by the skills of a Hawaiian crow species. The birds proved themselves able to use tools, which is evidence of high IQ in the animal kingdom.
The Hawaiian crow is locally called ‘Alalā. It is the second crow species which proved the remarkable skill of using tools. Before this recent discovery, researchers believed that the New Caledonian crow was the only species of the family that could display such abilities.
Both the New Caledonian crow and the Hawaiian crow tend to use small sticks or other tools they can carry and find in the wild in order to extract insects from rotten trees. Researchers noticed that there is a strong resemblance between the two species, regarding their bills. Both of them have straight bills, which the specialists deem to be an adaptation for using tools.
However, there is a sad part of the story, too. The Hawaiian Crow is on the verge of extinction. Experts in conservation strategies launched a program last year, meant to help the birds recover their initial status. Breeding pairs have been captured and protected, so that they could reproduce in captivity and no threats should interfere with the process. Researchers hope that their efforts won’t be in vain and that they will be able to release the birds in their natural environment as soon as possible.
Specialists were able to observe the birds behavior and their tendency of using tools when feeding in captivity. Scientists who studied both the New Caledonian and the Hawaiian crow state that they are very much alike, especially when it comes to their habit of using tools.
Researchers are enthusiast because this is one of the rare occasions when a species is studied altogether, and not by its separate individuals. They also noted that adults don’t teach babies to use tools, so it is more like an inherent capacity of the birds. They just develop it spontaneously, when confronted with a situation demanding it from them.
Specialists think that this discovery is highly significant, as the ability must have evolved with each species at different times, or independently. It is not common to all crow species, so this raises interesting questions about animal behavior in general.
Image courtesy of: Public Domain Image